Cake may be the main focus at this New Plymouth club, but the ingredients for its success include copious amounts of frivolity and friendship.
While Christmas is still weeks away, the festive spirit was alive and well among Glenys Hargraves and the rest of her cake decorating queens during a recent visit.
The women help train the 17-member New Plymouth Cake Decorators Guild.
For most of them, cake decorating is a hobby, and their monthly get-togethers provide a chance to chat and share their newfound tricks.
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Hargraves was in the process of putting the finishing touches on the Santa-inspired icing he created to top his baked fruitcake.
Traditional bakers claim that the best Christmas cake needs a few months in the tin to mature, in order to reach maximum deliciousness when the first piece is cut on December 25.
It’s an adage that Hargraves stood behind 100%, as she had the dried fruits, spices and other key ingredients on the kitchen table at Labor Weekend to make her own.
Club member Jo Corlett, who first joined two years ago, admitted to being a bit behind with the eight ball baking, having only made her cake last week.
Corlett said she had loved the club and the camaraderie with her cake friends from the very beginning.
Her holiday-themed frosting project involves a reindeer and all the decorations that Christmas usually conjures up.
Putting the finishing touches on the cake could take Corlett hours of work, but she was pretty sure her husband would make quick work of polishing it up over the Christmas holidays, she said.
The New Plymouth Cake Decorators Guild, which is an offshoot of the national body, has been in business for about 27 years, with members ranging in age from 30 to 80.
It is part of the New Zealand Cake Decorators Guild and one of 32 clubs across the country, representing around 500 members.
New Plymouth’s Pauline Allen-Hunter, who has been decorating cakes as a hobby for 40 years, represented the club at a recent national trade conference and came back full of ideas.
One of the joys he still has after four decades is being able to learn something new and pass the knowledge on to people who have the same passion for making cakes magical.
“That’s what it’s all about, sharing knowledge and trying,” Hargraves added.
Anyone interested in joining the New Plymouth Cake Decorators Guild can visit their Facebook page or contact Hargraves on 021611773 for more information.